MIAMI-DADE ( December 14, 2022 )–
Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, together with the Resilient305 partnership and The Miami Foundation, announced the official launch of the County’s Extreme Heat Action Plan, the first in the county’s history. The Plan seeks to mitigate the effects of extreme heat through education, improved personal and familial cooling options, and a combination of blue, green, and grey infrastructure to cool entire neighborhoods and communities.
While Miami-Dade County is known internationally for its vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding, extreme heat causes more death and has a greater annual economic impact than any other climate or weather-related disaster. Each year, this silent killer kills approximately 34 people in Miami-Dade County. It also creates economic losses estimated at $10 billion annually, due in chief to lost worker productivity. Due to climate change and urban development patterns creating longer and hotter summers, heat-related illnesses and the economic burdens associated with heat are on the rise.
“The Extreme Heat Action Plan is a roadmap for protecting our residents, visitors, and economy,” said County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Our work to fight extreme heat began with the appointment of the world’s first Chief Heat Officer, which has now been replicated in municipalities around the globe. We can – and will – protect people from the risks of extreme heat with solutions that also create economic and environmental benefits for our community. Through this work, Miami-Dade is leading the international community in creating a future-ready county, with a focus on climate justice and equity for our people."
Mayor Levine Cava and Chief Heat Officer Jane Gilbert inaugurated the county’s first heat season to better educate the public on the dangers of extreme heat and to name extreme heat waves, much in the same way that hurricanes are named. The county has also begun retrofitting virtually all public housing units with efficient air conditioning and is working actively to expand the tree canopy cover, currently at 20%, to a goal of 30% by 2030.
Chief Heat Officer Gilbert said, “Our goals with this plan are to collectively inform and protect people, make it easier for our residents to cool their homes affordably and to cool our neighborhoods, especially with trees where we need them most. Now is the time to put ambition into action.”
The Extreme Heat Action Plan was developed with extensive input from a diverse 15-member Climate and Heat Health Task Force and more than 300 experts, stakeholders, and residents through a series of public workshops and interviews. The Task Force was co-chaired by Miami Dade County’s Chief Heat Officer Jane Gilbert and Dr. Cheryl Holder.
Noting the importance of this work, Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President and CEO of The Miami Foundation, said, “This is what it looks like to take the life-threatening impacts of extreme heat seriously. The level of community engagement in this plan is exactly what is needed for successful collective action.”